26 Aug Simone, Simon + Kids’ Sydney Home
Simone Duckworth, lifestyle blogger of Honey and Fizz and mother of three, share with us a tour of their Sydney family home.
Who lives here?
I live here with my husband Simon and three boys, Noah, Jasper and Finn, and our dog Dash.
Tell us about your home?
We live in a modern home on the Northern Beaches in Sydney, which has four bedrooms, two living areas and a fantastic backyard. We love to entertain outside when it’s warm, and it’s really designed for that with an undercover area, BBQ and pool. The back of the house opens up completely, so you really get that indoor and outdoor living feeling in one.
The boys love playing outside – it’s a bit of a paradise out there with the trampoline, pool, and their own skateboarding half-pipe. I don’t know who loves it more, the boys or Simon!
When did you buy your house?
We built our house 13 years ago when I was pregnant with Finn, and it has evolved over time. The floor plan has always stayed the same, but we have updated some of the finishes. We changed the kitchen cupboard doors to white and bench tops to Ceasarstone in Snow a couple of years ago. This gave the house a little lift and refreshed it. Fresh white paint throughout the house every five years keeps everything looking bright and new. I do like to change homewares around to keep things feeling fresh. I change cushions, rugs and vases a few times a year. We love where we live – it’s close to the shops, kids’ schools and activities, family live just around the corner and the beach is a 10-minute drive away.
How would you describe your interior style?
It’s really light, fresh and airy. I love white spaces – they have such a peaceful vibe, and it’s a great neutral base for adding texture and pops of colour with furniture and homewares. I’ve always got lots of books around, fresh flowers and a candle burning. I’ve got quite a few indoor plants and I’m planning to add more. I just love the cosy feel and life they add to a home.
Home is where we truly relax…with life so busy these days it’s nice to have a place that gives you that calm feeling when you walk through the door. I wanted lots of plants and greenery, and to be surrounded by the things that make me happy.
What is your favourite room and why?
Our living space is the heart of the home. It’s all open-plan and quite a large space. Everyone congregates here to relax, talk or watch TV together. In summer we open up all the folding doors to let the breeze in, and I love to look out to the tree tops and the ocean.
Did you have a particular theme or style in mind when styling the boys’ rooms?
I tried to create a room filled with the things they love. I wanted their rooms to have lots of storage to help keep things tidy. All their rooms have a neutral base and the colour and interest comes from their bed linen, rugs, art, books and toys.
Did you include any DIY elements in your home?
I’m always painting some piece of the boys’ furniture white. In Finn’s room we popped up clipboards to display all his surfing and skating posters, rather than sticking them straight onto the walls. This looks cool, but it’s also easy to change up the pictures regularly. We also installed skateboard racks on his wall to store all his skateboards neatly.
In Jasper’s room I took an old noughts and crosses set and painted it black and white to look more modern and blend into his room. Also in Finn’s room his gumball machine was red but I sprayed it white.
Did you have to make any renovations to your home?
Earlier this year we had a bit of a disaster when a repair man didn’t fix our dishwasher hose properly, which resulted in flooded floorboards. Everything had to be ripped up and we had to move out for six weeks while our floors were fixed. We had to make a quick decision on new flooring and we decided to go with white concrete floors. We wanted something hardy and low maintenance (they are surprisingly easy to keep clean!). Despite all the frustrations of the renovations and having to move out, the floors were totally worth it. We love them, and it’s given the whole house a refresh. Everything looks new!
What are some of your favourite pieces?
In Noah’s room, I love his ‘Noah’ pennant, elephant head, his anchor light, which he uses as a night light, and the ‘Wild Thing’ print sums him up perfectly!
In Jasper’s room I love his round mirror, plants and various wall prints. In Finn’s room I love his ‘Hell Yeah’ tea towel from Rachel Castle that I framed, his lightning bolt light and the wall of clipboards displaying his favourite surfing photos.
Where did you buy and find your favourite pieces?
I buy a lot of things online from Etsy and I always come across cool pieces on Instagram. Most of the boys’ bed linen is from Cotton On Kids or Adairs. I love the lights from Little Letter Lights Co. (link removed) Rugs are from Freedom – you can pick up some great bargains in their sales. Ikea for storage and bookcases. I also come across great finds at Kmart and Target.
What is your children/s favourite piece?
Noah loves his Tiger poster, as that was the first animal sound he knew. Jasper loves his J for Jasper light. Finn loves his skateboard racks.
What are your top 5 key (must-have, can’t live without) items?
1. Storage: I love a Billy bookcase from Ikea and have them in most rooms. The trick is to build them in so they look more polished.
2. Cool bedlinen, rugs and cushions: they add colour and personality to the room.
3. Art: I can’t go past a Typography quote! Blacklist Store is a favourite.
4. Books: we’re all bookworms around here and I love that Finn’s books have been passed on to Jasper and now Noah.
5. Lamps and lighting: overhead lighting can be so harsh, so it’s nice to dim the lights and pop on a lamp at night to relax, read by and get the boys ready for bed. I love a novelty light to add interest to the room and double as a reading or night light. My favourites are Little Letter Lights (link removed) as they are such great quality.
You have this amazing changeable lightbox in your kitchen – how did that come about?
I came across the Lightbox a few years ago at Koskela. We were just getting our kitchen redone and I knew that I needed it for my shelves! It’s one of my favourite purchases ever, as it adds such fun and personality to our space. I’m always changing it up for birthdays or to a cool quote I’ve seen. It’s made by Page Thirty Three. I’ve just bought some new letters for it created by Blacklist Studios, so that has given it a little refresh.
What do you love most about your home?
What I love most about my home is who I share it with.
Do you work from home?
I work from home on my blog – Honey and Fizz – and also my Etsy store, which sells prints and banners. My two older kids are at school and Noah is at preschool three days a week. I usually don’t look at my emails until the school run is done, but once I start I’m quite aware of how quickly the day flies until school pick up time. Usually, the night before, I put together a list of what I want to achieve and a loose running schedule. I don’t get a chance to do any work in the afternoon as I’m taking the boys to their after-school activities and helping with homework, so I might check my emails and do any other work once they’re in bed. I have a little desk at home, but I usually find myself working in the living room and jumping up every now and then to pop on another load of washing or to empty the dishwasher. The usual mum juggle.
What inspired you to start your website?
My blog originally started as my online diary – a place to keep track of interiors I loved, recipes I wanted to try, dream travel destinations and documenting special family occasions and moments I wanted to remember. Honey And Fizz was originally my online mood board, but opened up into opportunities of selling my own prints and banners and working with different brands. I’m about to launch a service utilising my love of interiors by setting up home consultations for styling and online design boards. I love the freedom and flexibility of working from home and for myself. I like that each day is different and I can use my creative side and work with things that I’m passionate about.
It’s important as a mother to find time for yourself and to nurture your own hobbies and creativity. It could be doing a class at a workshop (The School and DTLL Workshops have some fun ones), taking photos, or trying out a DIY project. Surround yourself with people who have similar interests and inspire you. I’ve found blogs and Instagram to be great for this. There’s a great community feel, and it’s amazing how you find like-minded souls. It’s about finding a balance that works for you and your family.
Simone Duckworth is a Sydney-based mum of Noah, 3, Jasper, 8, Finn, 13, and lifestyle blogger of Honey and Fizz. She is interiors obsessed and loves taking photos and capturing the every day. You can follow more of Simone’s family adventures via her blog, Etsy, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Interview by Jenna Templeton / Images by Simone Duckworth